House wants bust to honor 'Speaker'

PIERRE -- The state House of Representatives voted unanimously Thursday to place a bust of George Speaker Mickelson in the House lobby of the South Dakota Capitol.

PIERRE - The state House of Representatives voted unanimously Thursday to place a bust of George Speaker Mickelson in the House lobby of the South Dakota Capitol.

Then the 67 representatives rose and applauded Rep. George Mark Mickelson, R-Sioux Falls.

Mark, the oldest of three children of the late governor and wife Linda, is the third generation of the Mickelson family to be the House speaker.

The resolution now moves to the Senate for agreement.

The family line began with George T. Mickelson. He was governor of South Dakota from Jan. 7, 1947, to Jan. 2, 1951.


Forty years later his only son, George Speaker Mickelson, took office as governor. Speaker served from Jan. 6, 1987, until April 19, 1993.

That day, all eight men aboard, including Gov. Mickelson, died, as the state turboprop jet smashed into a silo trying to reach an Iowa airport for an emergency landing.

George T. and Speaker are the only father and son to serve as House speakers and as governors of South Dakota.

House Republican leader Lee Qualm of Platte read the resolution Thursday honoring Speaker.

Nearly every member of the House had signed the sponsorship sheet.

After the reading, Qualm said the artist who sculpted Trail of Governors statues of Mickelsons, Peter Norbeck and Mike Rounds would make the bust.

The Senate lobby has a bust of Norbeck. The Legislature passed a law in 1951 requiring the Norbeck bust to be displayed on the Capitol grounds.

Norbeck, a well driller from Redfield, rose from state senator to governor and then U.S. senator. Norbeck died in 1936 while still a Senate member.


Qualm said $12,500 for the Mickelson bust would come from donations.

"So there will be no tax dollars involved," he said.

Qualm recalled being president of the South Dakota Corn Growers and working with George Speaker Mickelson while governor.

"He was a great man and very deserving of this honor," Qualm said.

Rep. Mickelson stayed at his desk on the House floor while Rep. Steven Haugaard, R-Sioux Falls, presided for the afternoon as speaker pro tem.

Regarding the new bust, Haugaard said: "This is an appropriate thing to have in the House of Representatives."

Hagaard referred to the 1993 crash. "That was a sad day for everyone in the state," he said.

House members then stood and gave Mickelson an ovation.


Mark Mickelson stood. "We do still get a little emotional," he said.

His voice cracked for a moment.

"Thank you."

He told the story of how House members named his dad Speaker because, on the day his dad was born, his grandfather George T. was House speaker.

Mark he knew his dad as George. But, he said, his dad's older sisters called their brother 'Speak' because their father's name was George.

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